2008 Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival (page 2)

courtesy of Peter Tanner

After World War II, Deerleap was purchased by Campbell Church Jr., a young, affluent Seattle mining engineer. Church had started a yacht charter business that catered to wealthy sportsmen, and his fleet included such famous yachts of the day as the 86-foot Ted Geary - designed Westward; her sister ship, the Caroline; the Alician; the Seyelyn II; and the Olympus. With her immense observation saloon and fantail aft deck, Deerleap was the perfect addition to Church's charter fleet. During the 1940s and 1950s, she frequently hosted entertainment luminaries including Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and John Wayne, and financiers such as Andrew Mellon Jr.

Photos - Frames left and center: the top decks from the upper portion of Granville Market level - The Sleek looking bow at frame left and the entrance to the lower decks at center frame.

Frame right: Apparently I made such a fuss at photographing this vessel from every angle that I was noticed by the owner/captain Richard "Slim" Gardner. I moved down to the floating dockside for a few more photos close up when Richard approached me saying, "Hey, how would you like a treat?"

Answering a bit skeptically, I said, "Yes, what did you have in mind?"

With a smile and twinkle of his eye, he said, "I don't often take people down to the engine room, but you look like someone who would appreciate it." And that I did. I left the greater bulk of my camera equipment up on deck outside the stairwell leading to the engine room (center frame) and followed Mr. Gardner down into the engine room.

As I arrived into the engine room I immediately was taken back by the bright, polished look of the two large, stationary engines therein. Behind the two spit polished engines is a mirror which does two things: Gives a more roomy feel to the engine room, and reflects ambient light so that the engine room has few, if any dark corners of shadow. Wow! Frame right shows the front portion of the Gardner 6 cylinder British engine. Now this is no ordinary engine! This particular engine comes out of the fishing boat "Relief" which is up on blocks underneath the Granville Street Bridge, closeby at Granville Island. Just a little bit of history here.

During the mid-1950s, Deerleap was sold to Bud and Alice Olson. In 1956, she reportedly ran aground in front of the Empress Hotel in Victoria and, in the winter of 1957, the boat sank to the bottom of the harbor in Port Angeles, Washington. By the 1960s, Deerleap was in Southern California, once again serving as a charter vessel, hosting the Kennedy family and various movie stars, and frequently being contracted as a floating set for Hollywood movies. However, the boat changed owners frequently and, by the late 1980s, she had fallen into disrepair and was put up for auction. Richard ("Slim") and Carolyn Gardner had been introduced to the Deerleap when friends invited them aboard for a weekend excursion to Catalina Island.

"We'd been the owners of a 65-foot commuter boat called Old Age. We had the boat for fourteen years, but it had an outside steering station." Slim grew tired of always being outside in the weather running the boat while his guests sat below in warmth and comfort. "I knew the minute I walked aboard the Deerleap she was the boat I wanted," Slim says. "Her pilothouse, although raised, is still completely open to the formal dining room." This feature was important because it allowed him to operate the boat and visit with company at the same time. "Once she went up for auction," Slim says, "it became a real legal mess. Because the boat is documented, the title was actually owned by the U.S. government, and it controlled the boat until all legal matters were settled. Meanwhile, she sat unattended for four long years."

Photos - L-R - Looking at the white engine housing of the power generating engine that powers the electricity on board the MV Deerleap - it is situated between the two 6 cylinder English Gardner engines that power the Deerleap through the water.

A view of the two Gardner Engines. This is huge. I have a 17mm lens to photograph with in confined places, but this engine room is so huge I could only get engine number one at left and part of the engine number two at right (The Relief fishboat engine).

This is the engine telegraph for engine number two situated above the Relief Fish boat motor.

Photos - L-R - Introducing Richard "Slim" Gardner, the present owner and Captain of the vessel. Richard is so very proud of the Gardner engines. He has just recently spit polished the engines into this fantastic, shinny state.

This is the Gardner engine number one. This engine has been completely refurbished, rebuilt, polished up. It comes directly from England where Gardner Engines rule the Bus Lines and just about everywhere where reliable gasoline and diesel engines are needed. This particular engine comes from a decommissioned, Double Decker bus. As Richard explained to me "I had the opportunity to get other engines from other companies to replace the aging motors in the Deerleap, but when I heard the name of the engines, and found out the history, I kind of fell in love with the idea of having Gardner engines in my boat. Especially when my last name is Gardner. Kind of a match made in heaven if you ask me."

Frame right showing a wide view of the old engine (rebuilt and reconditioned, of course) from the Fishboat Relief (perched underneath the Granville Street Bridge) And yes, this was a treat! Thanks! Note: each engine that Gardner factory makes is hand made - by one person, from start to finish. The bus engine is from the 1950s.

Read more about the engine replacement for the Deerleap >>


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© Tanner Photo 2001 - 2008

© Ernestartist 2001 - 2008

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